Wagyu beef is a highly marbled beef originating from the unique Wagyu breed of cattle from Japan that is widely considered the ultimate tasting beef.
Marbling describes the fine lines of white fat known as ‘intra-muscular fat’ that often runs through the red meat in Wagyu beef in a random pattern. When this intra-muscular fat is melted through the meat in the cooking process the meat develops exceptional flavour and tenderness.
For a Wagyu breed line to be verified as ‘fullblood Wagyu’, that genetic line must be able to be proven through secure records and genomic testing to be only ever crossed with other fullblood Wagyu animals. Once a minute percentage of another breed is introduced through breeding then that genetic line will never be called fullblood Wagyu again. Fullblood Wagyu generally produces the best Wagyu beef.
Futari Wagyu is grown on the Irongate Wagyu stud which is located close to Two Peoples Bay near Albany on the bio-secure and pristine southern coast of Western Australia.
Futari means “two people” in the Japanese language and reflects the origins of the Wagyu stud located close to Two Peoples Bay.
The Gilmour family from Western Australia 100% owns and operates both Irongate stud and the Futari beef brand. The family has been farming in this region for generations and many family members work within the business. The quality of the Futari produce is a source of great pride to the family.
The Wagyu breed was initially used as a draught animal transporting heavy loads on carts across the centuries in feudal Japan. The process of natural selection created a breed that possessed the ability to store energy within its muscles in the form of ‘marbling’ in order to call on that energy when required during the cold Japanese winters.
Marbling is graded in Australia by a standard system of measurement administered by an independent governing body of Australian meat called AusMEAT. An AusMEAT grader will assign a marble score from 0 to 9 to an individual carcass by comparing the levels of intra-muscular fat shown.
Wagyu beef can be cut into any number of individual cuts during processing. Futari Wagyu generally uses a ‘56 way cut’ (28 different cuts per side of beef) but can produce any particular custom cuts with enough lead time.
Verifiable research has been conducted into the nutritional properties of Wagyu beef and the intra-muscular fat which was found to carry high levels of Oleic acid and Omega 3’s, the ‘good fats’ that contribute to positive health.
Irongate Wagyu stud places great emphasis on animal welfare by grazing the cattle in rich pastures for the first half of their life and mustering on horseback to keep them calm and stress-free. The animals are then fed a high protein dietary regime for 300-500 days. These practices take on greater significance with fullblood Wagyu because a more docile animal won’t draw on their reserves of energy (marbling) and this results in more tender, better tasting product.
Japanese Wagyu beef is often found in extreme degrees of marbling which is eaten in tiny amounts because it is so rich and is also very expensive. These extreme levels are achieved in part through confining the animals to indoor pens and restricting their physical activity. Australian Wagyu lead a healthier and happier existence and achieve high marbling through quality and quantity of feed sources and evolving herd genetics.
Wagyu beef production is an expensive process and the livestock with the finest breeding lines can be valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars each. However, there is a price point for every budget as fullblood Wagyu comes in different grades of marbling and the price varies significantly between marble scores 0 to 9.
As a rule, a Futari Wagyu steak should be seasoned with pepper and salt only to let the unique buttery flavour of the meat shine through. It is best cooked through to about medium in order to release the molten fats through the meat fibres. Rest for a short period and serve your steak hot before the marbling has a chance to return to its solid state. If it is a highly marbled piece of Wagyu then eat in small portions because of the richness of the meat. Cut the steak in 5mm slices like the Japanese and enjoy a luxurious taste experience!